2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution of April 25th 1974. With massive popular support, the Portuguese people toppled Salazar’s fascist regime and brought democracy to their country. The revolution ushered in a new era of workers and human rights achievements: social security, minimum wages, a national health service, access to education, freedom of speech, an end to censorship, freedom of association, women’s rights and many others in a wave of hope for a better future. April 1974 opened the doors to an unprecedented rise of working people and came as a boost for democratic movements in France, Italy and Spain.

That hope, and the revolution itself, is symbolised by the red carnation flower that people gave to the soldiers with which they decorated the barrel of their machine guns as they drove through Lisbon.

Ahead of the European elections, the fight against fascism is as urgent as in 1974. The Portuguese revolution is a turning point in European history. To defend its values is to defend a fairer society and fundamental rights in Europe today.

Left MEP Joao Pimenta Lopes:

Celebrating April means affirming the achievements of the Revolution, the transformative, emancipatory project that the people led. April means rejecting the steps back; it means freedom, equal rights, development and peace. April is more future!

Left MEP José Gusmão:

The 25th of April liberated several peoples. It ended the dictatorship in Portugal. It completed the independence of the peoples from the colonies, whose struggle was crucial for the regime’s demise. It continues to inspire people to fight against tyranny. This inspiration is more necessary than ever when we face the rise of new autocracies, the impoverishment of the democracies we live in and the rise of hate speech. Honouring the Portuguese Revolution is not an exercise in nostalgia. It is a commitment to act and fight today.

To celebrate April is to remember the heroic resistance against the fascist dictatorship, the selfless dedication to the fight for freedom. It is to remember the courageous act of the captains of April, who on that early morning put an end to fascism, with the people rising to transform the military uprising into a popular Revolution.

 

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